13 September 2007

Dubious honour

Yay! Rosario is, once again, Argentina's Capital of Unemployment. This title was first, informally, applied to the city during the Age of the Rat, even while most of the country (including Rosario) was busy enjoying the benefit of an economic model based on wishful thinking. The situation is much improved today — only a few tens of thousands of us are on the brink of starvation, and most of those who were hopelessly unemployed back in the 1990s are now happy exploited workers in fields ranging from the typical McJobs to construction works.

The city has 11.2% of its economically active population unemployed, that is, looking for work and not finding it. No other large town or city has a number so high. The wealth that you see in the streets (shiny new shops, luxury apartment towers) is real, but a lot of it comes from without, from the countryside, enriched by the exports of cereal, soybean and vegetable oils. Sadly, the production of such items is very mechanized and doesn't give jobs to many people.

We shouldn't worry about keeping this title for long, though. You can bet INDEK won't let that happen!


  1. Pablo –

    Do you know how the level of unemployment is calculated? Is it measured by the number of people seeking unemployment benefits? But what about those who were working en negro – do they qualify for benefits? And I presume if you get a lump sum from your (ex)employer, or don’t find a job before your benefits terminate, you aren’t counted.


  2. They ask you (the sample individual) if you've worked more than 'x' hours per day during the last 'y' weeks; if you haven't, they ask if you want to work and have been actively looking for a job for the last 'z' weeks; if that's so, then you're counted as unemployed. Therefore you can be counted as employed even if you don't have anything resembling a stable job, and you won't be counted as unemployed if you're not looking for a job. This is quite logical, but in bad times, people often give up looking for a job after months of fruitless searching.

    I don't know about the benefits. I presume they don't care about you being en negro. That'd be stupid, since those en negro are the most vulnerable to being fired.


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